To Tend a Garden

Last year, we planted a garden. My father, brother, and I cut the three rectangular boxes. We stained and sealed the squared wood and sat the straight lines into trenches. The boxes hugged the earth’s short slope, the first boxed tier dropping to the second, and the second down to the third. In the bottom box, we dug out the roots of an old tree that stood there years ago, removing the dirt covered memory of the scarred trunk and gnarled branches. We moved the earth with our hands and had visions of a garden that would take shape upon that small plot of our yard.

I never saw the seeds break through the dirt and into the sky. I did not see the fruits of our labor harvested and eaten. I left for the trail soon after we planted. But I knew they were growing because the frames were well laid, the earth was good, and the seeds were strong. I could imagine the growing vines, the reaching greenery, and the broadening leaves.

This year, I will plant it and watch it grow. Already, I pulled the scattered weeds from the soft soil and prepared the wood frames for another year of weather. I retrieved the compost bin out of the shelter of the garage and nestled it into its corner of the yard, the musky casting ready to sustain the living plants. My hands worked at the straggly weeds, pulling them free from the ground. The earth clung to my sweaty legs and the sun burned against my white flesh.

I am happy to be home this summer, and not just for the garden. Because like the garden, I will tend to those I love. I will weed out the problems as they arise and enjoy the fruits as they come forth. I will enjoy my moments with all of creation — whether that be garden, friend, or the thing that we can’t quite describe — the thing that makes up all of what there was, is, and ever will be.

Because as the wise  one, Joe Dirt says, “Life’s a garden, dig it!”

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